As someone with an advertising background, it’s always fascinating to me when I see such epic failjobs by PR professionals and the athletes they represent. Today’s fuckup comes courtesy of New York Mets pitcher, Matt Harvey who, appeared on the Dan Patrick Radio show. Let’s just say he’s not exactly Billy Mays when it comes to slinging products. The awkwardness starts about 1:20 into the “interview” when Harvey insists he’s not there to talk about silly things like baseball, but rather Qualcomm and some bullshit service they’re providing to make the Fan Experience™ so much better. Whatever. That the interview is a disaster is apparent simply by listening/watching it, but there’s a few additional interesting things about it:
1.) Athletes today (especially ones as popular as Harvey) have become so focused on their own brand that it’s rare they come off as clueless as Harvey does here. It’s one thing to be a cliché robot and spit out the same safe words over and over again. Lots of athletes would rather play it safe than be engaging simply because having a distinct personality – or shit, an opinion on something – can often be polarizing in today’s society. And when people don’t agree with you, they’re not going to agree to buy the shit you’re hawking. In terms of endorsement dollars, being vanilla works.
2.) That said, it’s a whole other thing to be so singularly focused on mentioning the product/service you’re promoting that you come off as A.) incapable of holding a conversation and B.) completely pigheaded. I’m not sure if Harvey truly is as oblivious as he comes off in their interview, but either way. I’m sure he has a PR person and that person apparently decided the whole, “here’s how to do a radio interview while endorsing something” wasn’t all that important. In that regard, they not only made themselves look bad, but their client. More of these kinds of interviews and Matt Harvey isn’t going to have any radio shows to go on and talk about this stuff.
3.) That Dan Patrick spent the next FIVE minutes (yes, he had airtime to fill, but still) essentially ripping Harvey says a lot about just how bad this went. Patrick’s an old pro with a ton of cred who can get away with a bit more than most, but damn. Where most radio hosts spend the majority of interviews deeply entrenching their noses into the backsides of their guests, Patrick pulls no punches, saying among other things, “He should know how this works.” Not only did Harvey appear untrained, but he was completely unprepared – something his PR person, agent and manager should all take the blame for.